Finding the Right Fitness Trainer for You

As summer turns to fall, you might be thinking about moving your exercise routine indoors. Once the weather gets snowy and frigid, it’s harder to get out and hit the walking or bike trails. Or you may be thinking that you want to move beyond your current 30-minute treadmill routine at the gym. A fitness trainer may be the way to go.

A trainer can help you do everything from helping you use the gym equipment correctly to taking your workout to the next level. Here, from the National Institute on Aging, are some tips on how to find the best trainer for you.

Ask friends, family, or your health care provider for a recommendation. (Even if you have been working out with your doctor’s approval, tell him or her about the new goals you have in mind.

Check with local health clubs or senior centers to see if they have trainers on staff or can recommend someone.

Once you have a couple of names, the NIA says, you can start asking your potential trainers a few questions:

Is the trainer:

Certified by an accredited organization? (Editor’s note: Some organizations that provide training include the American Council on Fitness, National Academy of Sports Medicine, International Sports Sciences Association, American College of Sports Medicine, and National Strength and Conditioning Association.)

Experienced or educated in exercise science, aging, and program design?

Experienced in working with people of your age and/or with your medical condition?

Comfortable working with the medical community?

Other questions you should consider, according to the NIA:

Does the trainer:

Have a passion for working with older adults?

Listen carefully to you and answer your questions?

Have a sense of humor and a personality that you like?

Has the trainer:

Told you what you can expect from the sessions?

Clearly explained the cost of the sessions and the cancellation policy?

Stated that he or she is insured or bonded?

Given you a list of clients so you can check references?

If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, the trainer could be right for you. Ask for one or two trial sessions.

Reprinted with permission from The National Institute on Aging, nia.nih.gov.

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